Shop assistant: May I help you? / Tennin: Irasshaimase. Customer: I can’t find a knife. / Okyaku: Naifu ga mitsukari masenn. Customer: I heard customers can buy anything at Japanese convenience stores. / Okyaku: Nihonn no konnbini deha nanndmo kaeru to kikimashita. Shop assistant: If it’s not in the store, we don’t have it. / Tennin: Omise ni nai mono ha nai desu. Customer: So... you do have knives? / Okyaku: Soreja, naifu ha aru nn desu ne. Shop assistant: The things we don’t have, we don’t have. / Tennin: Nai mono ha nai desu. Customer: Then, where can I find the knives? / Okyaku: Soreja, naifu ha doko ni aru nn desu ka. Manga Explanation: Scene 1. A non-Japanese person comes to a convenience store counter. The word “irashaimase” (welcome, thank you for you coming, or may I help you?) is customarily used by shop assistants in stores and restaurants in Japan. Scene 2. Convenience stores in Japan sell almost anything you might need in your day to day life. But the shop assistant says, “Nai mono ha nai desu.” She means that what is not available in the store is not available. Scene 3. The customer interprets this as meaning that “anything is available,” and that knives are also available. “Nai mono ha nai” can be understood as meaning both: “What we don’t have is not available” and “We have just about anything.” Scene 4. The shop assistant repeats “Nai mono ha nai desu.” The customer becomes irritated with the shop assistant because he interprets these words to mean that anything is available, but she’s not saying where these things.
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